How early is too early to make or buy a Halloween costume | Toddling Through the Silicon Valley | Cheryl Bac | Palo Alto Online |

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By Cheryl Bac

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About this blog: I'm a wife, stay-at-home mom, home cook, marathon runner, and PhD. I recently moved to the Silicon Valley after completing my PhD in Social Psychology and becoming a mother one month apart. Before that, I ran seven marathons incl...  (More)

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How early is too early to make or buy a Halloween costume

Uploaded: Oct 6, 2015
In August our son spotted halloween decorations at a store. And ever since he has wanted to get the ball rolling on our Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations. Even as a three year old, he seems to lump all of the holidays if Halloween and Thanksgiving are just part of the build up to Christmas.

I explained to him that I prefer to wait until October to start celebrating Halloween. And that part of what makes each holiday special is that many people are all celebrating the same thing on the same day. It's just not the same to celebrate a month, week or even a day early.

So, of course, October hit and he has helped me make his (and his sister's) Halloween costumes and start decorating our living room. I'm crossing my fingers that he doesn't change his mind and want a different costume on October 30th. Thankfully there are a lot of Halloween festivities throughout the month, so it won't be hard to fill in the large gap between now and Halloween.

When does your family start celebrating the fall and winter holidays?
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Posted by Mother of 4 , a resident of Palo Verde School,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 9:17 am

It has always been our policy to leave it as late as possible before mentioning any of these things at home. If the kids mention them, we tell them we will wait until nearer the time. They don't always appreciate our rules particularly as schools and stores seem to start preparing earlier and earlier each year.

At least now our kids have worked out that when we get our Christmas tree up it means that Christmas Day is very soon and then they start to get excited. We think it is much better than having them over-excited for a month. We also keep the celebrations going on longer as it is good for them to reflect as much as to anticipate.

Posted by Old Tillie, a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 12:03 pm

I love your article, and I admire you making your own costumes! That was the thing to when I was a child, and I continued it with my three kids. From age 3 on, I advised my kids to think carefully for at least a week about what they wanted to be for Halloween, so as soon as October arrived they began plotting. Then I would sew them unique costumes. I also told them that once they picked their character, they couldn't change their minds, as it takes lots of time to design and sew each one, so if they changed their mind they had to make their own costume with a paper bag or other materials that were age appropriate. Only once did my son change his mind on Oct 30th, and then didn't like how his bag costume of a super hero turned out, so he went back to the banana slug one I had made him. It was such a hit everywhere we went! He still talks about that costume, and he's 30 year sold!

Posted by Adam, a resident of another community,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 2:26 pm

> I'm in the party industry, so maybe starting in January, mid-year, and then September and October

> What is really nice if you have a party store like Party City in your area, is that you can buy costumes all year there.

> The earlier you are ready to celebrate, the less disappointed you will be to remove the decorations when the time comes (Nov. 4 at least)

> It is also good to seep in those Thanksgiving decorations by mildly by October 31st (just the fall leaves, cornucopia and such, by November 5th bring in the pilgrims, turkey and general fall decor.

>Two days before Thanksgiving is actually a great day to buy your tree, that way there will be a sweet odor in the house from the Pine or Fir tree prior. Also, for environmental and stress reasons, I would recommend a faux tree, so that way you can just assemble it and spray it with a pine air freshener, or use scent bags.

>The "Christmas" tree can also be an existing tree in the house or outside. Who has ever camped around the Christmas tree for presents at night or in the morning?

>The tree can also be used all throughout the holidays,
> For Halloween - put different color webs on the tree and decorate with spiders, Halloween orange and black lights, and skeleton parts. For extra effect, use black light bulbs and glow-in-the dark webbing and dim the lights. For presents place plastic kettles or cauldrons (one per child), and tell them the story of the Good Witch and the Bad Witch (Oz). Explain that the good witch will only give the children presents if they have been good and helpful in October. However if they have been bad, put a fake skeleton in... Just kidding all kids are great :-)

> For Dia De Los Muertos - drape the tree with colorful ribbon, string lifesaver candies together, and put pictures of loved ones both humans and pets who have passed away on the tree, also put small candy skulls or color Dia de los Muertos toys (with Christmas tree hooks) on the tree. If you have a picture of the cemetery where the loved ones are buried, an urn, a box of their ashes, or an item that the person cherished put it around the tree. Then have your children write notes to them. On Dia De Los Muertos - have a picnic dinner near the tree.

> For Thanksgiving - Everyone in the family must make a list of 20 items or so that they are thankful for and then put an item resembling that thankful list onto the tree. For example if a child is thankful for the family (they better be :-) ), they can put a photo (glued on paper like an ornament). Another example would be if the child says for going to Disneyland, they can put their Mickey Mouse toy in the tree, too.

> For Christmas - don't get me started.

>For Hanukkah - there are now several Hanukkah ornaments you can buy, while blue and gold are the standard Hanukkah colors, you can mix in a variety of different colors too. For thematic effect, divide the (not literally) tree into 8 sections. On each night, light up (electrically) that section of the tree. By the last night of Hanukkah the entire tree will be lit up. Keep it lit every night until January 3rd (of the following year) at least.

>For Kwanzaa - decorate the tree with black cloth ornaments, particularly with African cloths that are black colored. Use a red garland to cover just the base of the tree, and continue the mid to the top region of the tree in a light or dark green garland (black represents the people who overcame struggles and slavery, red represents the struggles to overcome, and green represents the future and the journey to change). On top of the tree, in green put either a "Sankofa" or a "Sesa Wo Suban" (see this list for African symbols and meanings: Web Link ).

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 2:31 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Mother of 4- What a nice idea to keep the celebrations going after the holiday. hopefully it makes the transition "back to normal" a little easier.

Old Tillie - This is the first year we made our Halloween costumes and I hope we do it again in the future. Our son helped me which made the experience that much more fun.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 7, 2015 at 3:14 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Adam- Wow! Those are fantastic ideas! Thank you so much for commenting. I've never seen a Christmas tree decorated for Halloween. How creative. I'll need to share them with my son and see which ones he wants to try this year.

Posted by pamom2, a resident of Ventura,
on Oct 8, 2015 at 1:32 pm

We made costumes in early October. The kids wore them as often as they like all through the month of October ending with Halloween or rather the costumes went into the dress up box. We got our money's worth out it. House decorating started about 5 - 7 days before halloween.

I must add, I am typically a last minute person but making Halloween costumes was just fun and the kids loved wearing them for most of the month.

Posted by Uncrafty, a resident of Barron Park,
on Oct 8, 2015 at 7:04 pm

I admire anyone who can go the homemade route. I've tried over the years, but just never got it done in time. Somewhere in the back of a closet are bags of unfinished holiday projects: costume patterns that would no longer fit anyone in my house, some material to make a Christmas tree skirt, and a whole lot of knitting needles and skeins of wool (from the year I got inspired to do all homemade gifts then ended up shopping in a frenzy on Christmas eve). I admit my craft skills are remedial, so the hardest part is having the patience to learn and not surrender to defeat when I inevitably make a goof.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 8, 2015 at 7:56 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Pamom2- Yes, we've definitely gotten a lot of use out of the costumes already. Much more than last year's costumes. Making them and then playing with them was the perfect rainy day activity for us.

Posted by Cheryl Bac, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Oct 8, 2015 at 8:30 pm

Cheryl Bac is a registered user.

Uncrafty- Thanks for commenting and for sharing your crafting adventures. I think a lot of us can relate to your collection of unfinished projects. Our son has enjoyed using some of my old craft supplies that I've accumulated throughout the years. It's fun to see them given new life after being forgotten about for awhile.

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